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Barbara Murchie

City of Toronto Electoral Region
Barbara Murchie

Candidate bio description

Bencher since 2011: involved in most committees; Adjudicator on Law Society Tribunal; Director Law Pro board; Leadership roles in Tribunal Committee and reform, Professional Development & Competence and Retention of Women in Private Practice and Justicia; Litigator 30 plus years - small and medium sized firms and now at Bennett Jones LLP. Small town upbringing - support for small firms in smaller communities.

What inspired you to run for bencher this year?

The decision on whether to increase the rigour of licensing exams remains outstanding now that benchers have voted to continue the Articling/LPP requirement. In my view, multiple choice exams are not enough. The Law Society needs to test lawyering skills fairly and objectively as well. See my website for more: On discrimination and harassment, what are we waiting for??? Our own, Me Too moment, that beings shame on the profession. I’m for leading on this.

What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the legal profession?

Leveraging technology to facilitate the delivery of competent and efficient legal services is the biggest challenge. Lawyers and Paralegals face continuing pressure to provide legal services more cost-effectively or pro bono. At the same time, we face increasing competition, including from internet-based services. Benchers will need to consider how to support the changes that lawyers will have to make to stay relevant and affordable.

What would be your first priority upon election?

My first priority is to welcome and support the new benchers. It takes time to become familiar with the regulatory issues that attend diverse practices throughout the province. It takes patience to learn about the considerations involved in balancing those issues with the needs of practitioners and the public interest. I will work to ensure that the fresh ideas and enthusiasm that the new benchers bring to the table are not smothered or forgotten in this process.

What do you hope to achieve over the next four years as a member of Convocation?

I hope to participate effectively in making the policy decisions required to implement the strategic plan that benchers will develop at a retreat in September. My focus will continue to be competence, technology, support for lawyers in both of these areas, and ending sexual harassment and discrimination in our profession. I hope to continue as an adjudicator on the Tribunal and as a director of LawPro.

What's the most pressing concern for the profession in your region of the province?

Toronto lawyers serve a diverse population and a varied business community. Practices differ as do concerns. In my experience, however, using technology to deliver cost effective legal services is common to most if not all.

Do you support the requirement to create and abide by a statement of principles?

What are we waiting for???? Our own “Me Too” moment that brings shame on the entire profession. We need to be ahead of this issue. We’re lawyers. We know we have fairness and equality obligations. We should be leading, not fighting, anti-discrimination and harassment. The Statement of Principles is a way of reminding us what we can and should.

Poll Question

What do you see as the top issue that prospective benchers need to address if they are elected?